Oct. 8, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) will compete at the ITA Men’s All American Championships, which begin play on Thursday, October 9 in Tulsa, Okla. It marks Helgeson’s first appearance in the event. On Thursday, Helgeson, 25th in the ITA preseason rankings, will participate in two singles draw matches.
The ITA All American Championships is one of the three most prestigious events on the college tennis circuit. It includes 64 of the top players in all of men’s college tennis. Sheeva Parbhu ’08 played in the event for the Irish last season. He was knocked out in the first round to 22nd-ranked Bojan Szumanski of Texas Tech, 6-3, 6-0. Parbhu also dropped his consolation match to 38th-ranked Clancy Shields of Boise State, 6-3, 6-3. Ryan Sachire and David DiLucia had the best performances at the ITA All American Championships among Notre Dame entrants as both fell in the title match, Sachire in 1998 and DiLucia in 1991. Dating back to 1989, the Irish have sent 12 entrants – on 19 occasions – to the event.
Last season, Helgeson ascended to as high as No. 11 in the ITA rankings before closing out the season at No. 45. He was named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team in both singles and doubles play for the second consecutive year. He also was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer on his way to earning the BIG EAST’s automatic bid into the singles draw of the NCAA Finals. Helgeson advanced out of the round-of-64 with a win over Harvard’s Chris Clayton (6-3, 6-1), before falling to No. 3 Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State in the round-of-32 (6-3, 6-2).
Helgeson posted a 31-10 record in singles play during the 2007-08 season, including a 15-1 mark in open competition and a 16-9 mark in dual play. He played the majority of the season at No. 1 singles, where he posted a 14-9 mark. He also posted a combined dual and open season 12-7 record against opponents ranked in the ITA top-100.
In the 2007 fall season, Helgeson posted a 13-1 record. His highlights included advancing to the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Regionals, where he fell in straight sets to ninth-ranked Ryan Rowe of Illinois (6-1, 6-4). Helgeson made it to the semifinals with wins over Phil Orno (6-2, 5-7, 6-1), Dara McLoughlin (6-3, 1-6, 6-2), second-ranked Steven Moenke (6-2, 1-6, 6-4) and Raoul Schwark (6-3, 6-4).
While Helgeson is participating in the ITA All American Championships, his teammates will play host to 22nd annual Tom Fallon Invitational, named after the 31-year Irish head coach. The three-day event will begin on Friday, October 10 at Notre Dame’s Courtney Tennis Center. This year’s field includes Ball State, Harvard, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Wisconsin.